Get the look: find and bid for intaglio jewellery on thesaleroom.com09 July 2020 Intaglio jewellery is trending at the upper end of the market, but there are plenty of affordable examples out there too.
Museum and dealer exhibitions, new collectors and new literature have prompted a spate of strong prices for this type of jewellery, which features engraved hardstone or glass. Here we look at recent auction highlights and a series of upcoming examples to view and bid for at auction.
Last year was a renaissance moment for hardstone cameos and intaglio gems. It began with the sale of a sardonyx cameo ring by English engraver Nathaniel Marchant for £39,000 at Tennants of Leyburn in January. Later two of the ‘lost’ jewels from the famous Marlborough collection sold: a Renaissance period sapphire intaglio carved with the bust of Julius Caesar (£62,000 at Woolley & Wallis in July) and another with the face of Mark Anthony in golden sard (£36,000 at Cheffins in December).
So far in 2020, this ‘return to form’ has continued.
Cumbria firm 1818 Auctions posted a new house record for jewellery when a neoclassical sardonyx cameo mounted in gold sold for £17,200 as part of a timed sale on thesaleroom.com closing on June 7. The estimate was just £200-300.
Key to its appeal was its outstanding quality and the presence of the signature Cerbara for a member of the Rome dynasty of medallists and gem-cutters. Against interest from Hong Kong, the brooch (in good condition save a minute area of discolouration) was eventually bought by a London jewellery dealership.
What to bid for
A sale at Woolley & Wallis on July 15 has over 30 cameos and intaglios including Hellenistic, Roman and 19th century gems. Top among them is a 19th century ‘Grand Tour’ gold bracelet mounted with nine oval hardstone intaglios including three signed for well-known Italian engravers. It has an estimate of £30,000-40,000.
However, there are also more affordable examples offered at the sale, such as an early 19th century brooch with the figure of Venus. It is set in a surround of seed pearls and has an estimate of £400-600.
View and bid for this intaglio brooch here.
There is also an agate cameo pendant with the profile of Apollo with a diamond mounted to the reverse. It has an estimate of £400-600.
View and bid for this cameo pendant here.
At Fellows of Birmingham on July 23 an even more historic option goes under the hammer. This Roman carnelian ring dates to the first century BC and has an estimate of £800-1200.
View and bid for this carnelian ring here.
At the same auction, a late Georgian onyx cameo ring is available for £800-1200.
View and bid for this onyx cameo ring here.
Made to look like an antiquity but actually dating to the 19th century is this archaeological revival intaglio brooch by Ernesto Pierret, c.1865. It features an amethyst carved to depict Cupid holding a lyre and set in an openwork floral and foliate bar mounted in gold. It is offered at Bonhams on July 15 with an estimate of £1500-2000.
View and bid for this brooch here.